Castlevania: Aria of Sorrow (GBA) - Hard 0:36:12 - Damien Moody
Here we are again...more AoS. Using a lot of new info learned from various individuals at SDA, I managed to drop the time from my last run, which will henceforth be referred to as "Craptastic," by 18:22...meaning the new time is 36:12. The randomness of needing certain souls and weapons just about drove me insane this time around, since I changed a lot of what was used.
Main Corridor Part 1 + Creaking Skull:
I timed out some battles with Creaking Skull using Baselard+Winged Skeleton and compared them to Short Sword+Axe Armor. Average fight time was about 12ish seconds on for both, but my fastest came from SS+AA at 9 seconds (wasn't on tape, but oh well). However, Baselard becomes completely obsolete when I get the Combat Knife. Axe Armor is useful for a long while after that (killing Rock Armors comes to mind...seeing as I pick up that soul for Great Armor).
Other than that I think I lost 3 seconds in this segment between the one mistimed jump in the skeleton room (bounced forward though so it wasn't bad) and the bounce backwards off the Peeping Eye near the first save room. I also grabbed the Mind Up in the room just below the Save Room after CS.
Main Corridor Part 2:
Since I skipped Flying Armor I used the Backdash Jump to get into the castle...honestly that caused the most restarts here, with a few 15-20 minute spans where I just couldn't make the jump at all. The Combat Knife dropped off the 4th Zombie Soldier this time.
Only time I lost here was a short jump over the Axe Armor (bounced forward), and a shot of Axe Armor too soon on the Rock Armor just before the save point, causing me to take a hit. I think I lost about 3 seconds here too.
Chapel Part 1:
Very short segment, this one only goes from the last save point in the Main Corridor to the first save point in the Chapel. The randomness here is Giant Ghost (I'm using a combo Giant Ghost/Lightning Doll Strategy on Death now...more on that in a moment) - provided that even counts since Giant Ghost is a fairly common soul. It only took 3 tries to get.
Chapel Part 2 + Manticore + Study Part 1:
I need Rock Armor this time, for the Great Armor fight. There's 4 of them, and running through them isn't too smart since I need to save a little HP for the long room with the Arachnes/Ectoplasms. Axe Armor+2 Combat Knife swings is all it takes. I lost a couple seconds from the last Fleaman in this room deciding to not jump into the Axe I threw (granted it DID hit the Rock Armor perfectly) and allowing the Rock Armor time to throw his rock at me.
The Arachne room went quite well this time around. I found that it's best to run in and swing at the Arachne, causing her to back up. This allows me to run under the Ectoplasms, and by the time I reach her again she was ready to spit at me, which allowed me to just jump over her. The second Arachne started spitting before I could swing, so I ended up smacking into an Ectoplasm and bouncing forward into the Arachne - I just kept running through her to make up for it.
I saved just before Great Armor.
Study Part 2 + Great Armor + Floating Garden: Start off with Great Armor. Rock Armor soul works well since nothing else does any decent damage (best is Axe Armor at 21 (3 hits for 7), but that requires me to be at a distance to get all 3 hits out of it. Winged Skeleton only hits for 4 or 5, and can only hit twice max. Rock Armor hit for 27 and allowed me to not have to reposition myself every time he moved since I could just throw a Rock at him whenever he backed up.
No randomness this time, just a quick run to the first save in the Clock Tower. I mistimed one jump in the room where Manticore use to be, and took a hit for it...but it made the jump to the far stairs easier since the Ghost Dancers weren't in my way any more.
I tried like hell in practice runs to get a damage boost from the Tiny Devil to get to the Warp Room quicker. I know exactly where he needs to be, but the odds of it happening quickly and perfectly are about as good as me getting Flame Demon to drop it's soul AND Laevatain in the same kill. I also tried to Backdash Jump up there...and was literally missing it by 2-3 pixels. Soma's sprite would even start moving left (2-3 pixels) into the opening, then it would move back those same pixels and fall.
Clock Tower Part 1:
Nothing special here, just get Lightning Doll and get to the save point before Death quickly. Luckily the second Lightning Doll in the Mystletain room dropped it, so I didn't have to bother with them in the room before Great Armor. I also dropped Great Armor with 2 Lightning Dolls and 2 swings of the Mystletain since I knew it would enough for me to level. It's like 3 seconds to kill it.
Death and Death only...this fight timed out to 37 seconds faster than my last one. I noticed something (that I couldn't manage to pull off and just took it as was since Death was giving me a migraine...literally) about Giant Ghost vs. Death:
Giant Ghost does 30 damage per reflect.
Mystletain swings do 28 damage.
Lightning Doll does 59 damage per hit, 3 hits at point blank.
With the Mind up I grabbed earlier I can cast Lightning Doll exactly 3 times for a total of 531 damage. By the time I kill his first form, I still won't have enough MP to cast Lightning Doll again.
Now, if I could reflect 18 or more shots back at him with Giant Ghost, it would out-damage Lightning Doll for the same MP cost, and also allow me to be completely on the offensive since I won't have to dodge anything except the floor lasers. I figure since the rest of the damage has to be made up in sword swings, having Giant Ghost up makes that part a bit quicker...plus if Giant Ghost gets 20+ hits or so it would mean less swings anyway.
Note that I only managed 10 hits with Giant Ghost...the only times I got more (highest was actually 23) he decided to be a prick and use almost nothing except his Dash-Slash after he changed forms, which made attacking next to impossible.
Clock Tower Part 2:
Just running from the Clock Tower to the Underground Reservoir. Nothing Special here.
I honestly think this is one of my better segments. Flame Demon was a bitch and didn't cough up his soul for a while, but it gave me a chance to practice the segment enough to get it almost perfect. The only unintentional hit I took was from a merman in the room after the Nightmares...but it bounced me forward so no biggie.
Arena Part 1:
This is, by far, the worst segment I've done. Not in terms of how I performed, but just in how freakin' long it took me to get Flame Demon to cough up the Laevatain - 3 weeks of off and on attempts! I don't know what the actual chance of getting it is, but I'd estimate that it's < 1% with only 20 Luck ;)
Beyond that I mistimed a jump attack against one of the Gargoyles in the first (large) room in the Arena, which caused him to double back and hit me a second time.
Balore took a lot of practice to perfect. Getting hit here means losing quite a bit of time and opportunity so I re-did this segment quite a few times to get it right.
I attempted to use his hand as a platform, but just couldn't find any decent use for it. My attack rate didn't speed up at all really since I normally do 2 attacks per jump.
I also tried using the Handstanding as a way to keep pounding on him (he swings and I jump over and land on a hand, so I don't have to dodge the other one). Unfortunately, he's too random on where he swings for this to work well either.
The major problem I had was when his hands would desync and attack at different times. I noticed that when he swings high that it takes longer for him to recover than if he swings low. Generally the left hand would lag only after a few swings, which would make it so I couldn't get as many attacks off. I restarted more times due to this than anything else.
Arena Part 2:
YAY for 22 second segments! All I did here was grab Succubus' soul from the one above the main path in the Arena (also a Lilith in here, and the Black Cloak). I would have waited until the Top Floor to get it, but I needed Lubicant there (for Graham) and know that Luck wouldn't have been on my side.
Arena Part 3 + Top Floor:
Finding the perfect path up to the Top Floor was hard enough, then Lubicant decided to make me re-do everything quite a few times before coughing up his soul. It was still worth it though since it made the Graham fight really quick.
Graham. Is. A. Pain. In. The. Ass. I found that Graham will open the fight a little different depending on how many candles you break on the way from the save point to him. I don't know why, but 4 got him to do what I wanted him to do (well, almost).
The only time the game checks to see if you have the right souls equipped is when you deliver the last hit when Graham is still in Human Form (with the rotating Lava Balls). Other than that you're free to use whatever souls you like, which meant heavy abuse of Lubicant/Lightning Doll.
I start the fight by taking a hit from Graham himself, then smack him a couple times. Then I wait until he fires Lava Balls and take 2 more hits, bringing me to 14 HP.
When he starts using the Rotating Lava Balls, I have to count hits. It takes 42 swings of Laevatain with Lubicant/14 HP to cause him to switch to his final form. That means I have to stop at 41 since I need Succubus/Flame Demon. After he changes I switch back for the damage and more Lightning Doll-ing.
There were a few points where I could have been slightly more aggresive, but this segment had me nervous as all hell and I really didn't want to screw it up.
Started off dropping down to 14 HP followed by 4 Lightning Dolls (which are a bitch to triple hit with on him...I think one only hit twice) then just Laevatain as often as I could. I found quite a few good attack opportunities as well, like if he does a sliding Kick, I get behind him and swing once standing, then three more crouching, then he blinks for a second. If he backdashes I can usually catch him with a 4 hit when he comes out of it as well.
After he starts using sub-weapons he doesn't blink any more, but I found that it's better when he uses a sub-weapon since he pauses longer afterward, giving me ample time to hit him twice before he does anything. If he does a kick/backdash/whip I only have time for 1 before he attacks again.
I honestly think it's a close call between this battle and Graham for "most visually impressive"...though I'd lean a bit more toward this one - in part cuz the music is nothing short of bitchin' ;)
This took quite a few tries to get the route figured out. Most of the rooms are easy enough to figure out but a bitch to pull off. The only real mistake was when I mistimed the landing before the first Succubus in the Arena large room. Ended up hitting the Succy while in Bat form and got knocked back, and a bit disoriented. Lost maybe 3 seconds.
I went with a Kaiser Knuckle strategy here (I bet you were still wondering just why the hell I picked it up in the Study, huh?). Pounded the first form as best I could, taking one hit from the demon to heighten damage. Second fight just berserked the eyes with the Kaiser Knuckle. I decided against using Lightning Doll since the eyes die quickly anyway. I saved all my shots for Chaos' Core, which totalled 12 I think (4 for each of the Mana Prisms, 3 after using the High Mind Up, and one after letting my MP refill after all that). It would have been one more except I accidentally was pressing up when swinging at one of the small green balls.
This one fight took me almost 3 days of constant attempts to finally complete. The Dragon in the second fight seems to have a future sense of sorts...he won't aim for where I am, but for where I will be 2-3 seconds from now. He also has a very nasty habit of appearing directly below me while I'm swinging at the Core.
You'll also notice that I didn't immediately drop to 1 HP this time. I would have done this in the first fight, but I needed that extra hit for leeway in case the Dragon decided to toss something my way that wouldn't be possible to dodge. I had a lucky drop of Rotten Meat back when I was killing the Zombie Soldiers for the Combat Knife - which made it easy to make sure I had 1 HP =)
I really can't think of anything else to say...
Captured by <a href="http://nate.metroid2002.com/blog/">Nate</a>.
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